I've been spoiled for the past 18 months by having an agent query on my behalf. Since making my get-a-literary-agent rounds, I'd forgotten how finicky some in the writing industry are concerning their submission guidelines.
My paranormal romance novella is too short for Agent Lady to represent, so I decided to go at it on my own for this manuscript.
Step One: make a list of the publishing houses to query. This was a fairly easy step. I simply opened the "Pubs" file saved in my Favorites and wrote down those houses that accept ParaRom at my word count.
Step Two: Mark houses that accept FULL manuscripts. Why? Because I, personally, roll my eyes at those that only take the partial. It bugs me. "Send us three chapters and we'll be in touch in 4-6 weeks." Yikes! **Caveat** If partial response time is fast, I'm all for it. Therefore, I research each individual pub's response time in forums.
Step Three: Prioritize. I select my top picks, simple as that.
Step Four: Gather materials for querying. This is where it gets tricky and when I rant...
What's up with these guidelines???
One publisher wants Times New Roman font, the next wants Arial, the next Courier New.
Some want italics, others want underlines.
Scene breaks seem to be a big deal and whether a) there should be NO break markers or b) there should be one * or c) there should be multiple *** for scene breaks but only one * for pov shifts varies from each house.
Then, there's the synopsis issue. Some want a 2 page synopsis, others want 5 pages. I ran across one house that wanted the synopsis in something like 2 paragraphs--synopsis not to be mistaken with brief description. Synopsis is the whole story, expressing all major points (including the ending) summed up in a pretty little package.
Apparently, publishers also want to send authors into a formatting frenzy...
"No first line indents!" says one house.
"One inch margins!" says another, while the next wants 1 1/2 inch margins.
Header vs. no header.
Page numbers top right vs. page numbers bottom center.
Send us an rtf labeled TITLE_MANUSCRIPT.
Send us a word doc labeled TITLE_MAN.
Send us an rtf or doc or docx labeled SUBMISSION_TITLE_AUTHOR LAST NAME.
Do not send us attachments! Send us the first three chapters, pasted into the body of your email.
We accept simultaneous submissions!
We only take exclusives. Do not submit to us if you're MS is being considered elsewhere.
***If you do not adhere and bow down to every aspect of our strict and befuddling guidelines, your submission will be used as target practice, then burned at the stake while we laugh and dance and point.***
Can't they all get together and agree on one set of guidelines? Please?